Monday, October 20, 2014

A (Catholic) Single Girl's Lament, or Existential Musings On My Own Inefficacy

I found myself mired in a conundrum last night during Mass.

First, a confession—I have a tendency to people-watch more than is entirely seemly while in the house of God. It is a personal failing of mine on which I need to work, but last night, as I cased the pews around me while belting out the processional hymn—one of those which, when they initially announced it, I was like, “I have legitimately never heard of this song before in my life,”…then they played the opening chords, and I was like “OH! …Jeesh, how many times have they used this tune?—I discovered something.

There were at least SIX cute guys sprinkled throughout the congregation that I could see without (obviously) craning my neck.

But not only that, oh no. They were sitting alone. And their butts were in church while the Cowboys were playing, so I knew they weren’t Pokes fans, and ostensibly had good morals (not that the two are mutually exclusive). A closer examination revealed good shoes, bare fourth fingers on their left hands and, in some cases, perhaps even a glint of Aggie gold on their right.

Catholic unicorns. I found myself at Mass with a blessing of Catholic unicorns.

Sidebar: You’ll be interested to know that “blessing” is in fact the collective noun used to describe a gathering of unicorns. I found it on the internets, so it must be true.

Therein lay my dilemma. How to meet these cute, Catholic men?

This is an earnest question. I can barely meet new people when I’m out at a bar where guys are presumably there to mingle with the ladies. And for all of the beauties to be found within a Catholic Mass, interaction with one’s neighboring worshippers is limited to a half-second handshake during the Kiss of Peace.

Sidebar: You better believe I smize the crap out of that half-second handshake though.

Plus, unless one of these theoretically eligible bachelors happens to sit near you (or you see them in time to strategically position yourself in their immediate vicinity), you don’t even get to proffer them a “Peace be with you” imbued with meaning.

Other than that, my arsenal of in-Mass flirting is limited to whispering “Bless you!” and asking on what page the day’s readings are. If I’m lucky and the opportunity presents itself, I might be able to work in some witty banter on whether or not the officiant invalidated the liturgy when he read the wrong Eucharistic prayer.

Sidebar: This actually happened during the early days of the new missal adoption. It was a confusing time for us all. #andwithyourspirit

The fact that I feel I must stoop to this kind of strategery is insane.

But I honestly don’t know what else to do. This question, and the subsequent weight of my own impotence and general ineptitude in solving it, has haunted me for years. YEARS.

I recently discovered that a friend of mine moonlights as the anonymous Catholic twitter account Snobby Catholic, and as he has sixty times the number of followers as I, I imposed upon him a few weeks ago to tweet out my query.

Below, find some helpful suggestions for approaching cute men in church, courtesy of his gagaffle of followers, a collective noun I just made up to fill an inexcusable gap in the English language. It’s gonna be a thing; tell your friends.

1)     Sign of peace handshake
        As previously stated, this is the only guaranteed audible connection and potential opportunity to break the touch barrier available to us singles, but is limited in its effectiveness by the general congregational disapproval towards parishioners flinging themselves across the aisles to make holy palmer’s kiss with the gentleman five pews up, even if the nape of his neck is stunningly gorgeous.

2)     You say, “Hi, I'm (insert name) and I think you're attractive.”
      You, Twitter commenter, are adorable. Besides, this is what I’m saying with my Kiss of Peace smize—why isn’t that enough? Is mind-reading really so much to ask of my fellow brothers in Christ?

3)     Maybe approach after Mass? Where everyone congregates in the back of the church?
Who congregates at the back of the church anymore? Even if cute guy stays to finish all eleventy-thousand verses of “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy,” you know as soon as the organist finishes wailing out on the outro, cute guy is out of his pew, snappily genuflecting before making a beeline for the door. And once he’s out the door, the battle is utterly lost because you best believe he’s already on his phone checking the Texans’ score. Or tweeting.

4)     “Would you like a beer?”, “I like your beard” or “How bout that Eucharist, huh”
       The first has potential, but might be awkwardly timed after an 8 AM Mass, and the second is lyrics from a Ke$ha song and would unfortunately reach peak effectiveness in November. That last one though may be perfect. I’ll put that one in my back pocket.

5)     Make eye contact and smile a few times. Nothing over the top. He should do the approaching.
Like this?

Dear readers, I am at a loss. Sound off in the comments below and save me from making badger-face at complete strangers in an attempt to communicate my interest.

***Shameless bid for new followers***
If you'd like to read more things like this but mostly Good Bull Hunting retweets and a series of gifs that track my steep descent into BAS-territory, follow me on Twitter at @scribblesnjots8! Just click the pink bird icon on the right sidebar so I feel like I got my money's worth on the watercolor social media button package I bought off Etsy. 


  1. Okay, I love the stories. How I was you, once upon a time, 12 years ago. I feel your pain. However, I have to note, I do not have a CLUE as to what the "shameless bid for new followers" means. I get that it's a twitter handle, but not a tiny clue as to what the rest of it means. I am definitely showing my age and lack of interest in sports :)

  2. As I sat in Mass this past Sunday, I found myself in a similar conundrum. As I scanned the pews before me I spotted a fetching Catholic woman. Aggie ring on my right and glaringly empty fourth finger on my left, I kindly awaited her come hither stare. It was completely absent. As a young male it might behoove me to make the move, but I'm a bit preoccupied these days. I say it is on myself and my gender. I believe if a gentleman is the type who goes to Mass and would enjoy dating you he should say so. If he won't make that move, he won't last long in your world.

  3. Since you obviously have a good grasp on football, take a good angle and tackle him before he hits the door after mass. Better yet, play free safety by heading towards the narthex instead of returning to your seat after communion. Once making the tackle, ask him if he's knows about the Catholic singles group meeting that evening at...(make something up on the spot). He shows up, you show up, "Awww bummer, looks like nobody else made it out tonight."

  4. A plan that depends upon both physicality and a touch of artifice? Sounds perfect.

  5. E, I find your prose witty and engaging, as usual. The predicament of engaging a young gentleman of virtue and high moral fiber without emasculating him or being a woman of the creeper variety is a true pickle indeed. It is one that can’t be brushed aside lightly or ignorantly with an appeal to Catholic dating sites. Rather, I see two options. Firstly, I might suggest trying to be attentive to the Love of your life who IS there present in the Eucharist and ask Him for help and guidance. Who knows if a gentlemen suitor is doing likewise and swoons when he looks up 3 minutes after Mass to see that he is not the only one who has chosen to pray after Mass (and not make a beeline for the door).

    Secondly, you could stalk your prey from a distance and go for the long game – it requires 5 stages. First: ensure you have a portable air compressor that will plug into your car. Second: identify your target as you have suggested at Mass. Third: the next time you see him there, quietly excuse yourself from Mass early and wait in the parking lot to observe his vehicle (getting a license plate number could help here). Fourth: the next time you see him at Mass, excuse yourself as before, locate his vehicle in the parking lot, and let out most (but not all) the air from one of his tires. Then wait immediately outside the door of the church, casually follow him to his car, and when he observes his tire out of air, remark that you just so happen to have an air compressor that might help since it doesn’t look like the tire is punctured. Proceed to let gentleman suitor woo you. Fifth: Deny any wrongdoing. The only drawback is that it would require you going to Mass at another time to fulfill your obligation since you’d be leaving Mass early several times. It’s a foolproof plan.

    Best of luck in your pursuit of marriage, E.

  6. Coming from the same problem from the male perspective, I think that the problem is that there's simply no good way to introduce/flirt when The Lord is about. Sadly, I only ever run into single Catholic ladies in front of a tabernacle or monstrance. It's bad enough that single Catholic men (no matter how chaste) are viewed as monsters, we're unsure about trying to flirt before the Real Presence. And since parishes no longer have other events where singles might meet (everything being just for well-heeled married couples)...

    I've lost my chances with some lovely ladies by not taking the chances availed to me to ask them out because of the circumstances of the Real Presence and the assumption that I'd look the That Guy of the parish...